Hurtle Goes Racing - 2015 Wrap Up
Author: Dave Roberts Date Posted: 7 December 2015
So at the beginning of this I wrote words to the effect that I was ready to go, all I lacked was skills, experience, money, equipment and time.
The year has rolled on and I have found that it's been a stretch at all those levels. Interestingly, after 1 year I have more skills, more experience, and more equipment. I have roughly the same amount of money and time, which is to say, still not enough. As the year went on, I've poured what I had into the process, and it's been mostly enough, though if any of you have been hanging around waiting for the blog posts, sorry, the time didn't stretch to that very often.
But I figured it would be good to at least give you the wrap up about how it's all gone.
- Was it worth doing? Absofreakinglutely. Some things we want to do and it takes a long time to get there. I've got good reasons for taking this long, but a word of advice, do the things you really want to do. This has been a big load of fun and has grown me in a number of ways. There's no way I can say enough, you've gotta go racing. Unless snowboarding is your thing, then go snowboarding, or philately, then collect more stamps.
- Was I successful? Really the answer to that is contained above, I had more fun than you can poke two sticks at. My aims were to learn a lot, yes I did. To go round and round and fall off minimal times. By the end of the year I wanted to finish in front of someone. Well I went round and round nearly as often as I wanted, but there were hiccups with equipment. The times I went round were great fun, I met generous and friendly people, and my total number of crashes was nil.
With regard finishing in front of someone, my class was fairly sparsely populated, but I finished in front of a couple of guys on 250s, and something I hadn't figured in advance, I was better at the end than at the start, so I finished in front of ME. Case closed, success declared.
- Can I afford it? That's a bit of a quandary. I chose to race a Ducati, because I like them and that's what I wanted to do. If I'd chosen another bike I may have got out of it cheaper, and I'd still be having a great time. Meanwhile I thought through a whole season, there is say, 4 dates at Wanneroo, fees 4 x $140 = $560. 6 dates at Collie, and I chose to do the tuning day as often as I can, so 6 x $200 = $1200. A $600 set of tyres is supposed to last 2 seasons, so call it $300 for tyres, I spend way less than 10 litres of fuel in the bike for a weekend, so call that $100. I change oil pretty frequently but I use less expensive oil and it's only 2.5 litres a change. $100. Transport to get to the track, call it $40 per weekend, $400. Club membership $80. Race license $300. That comes to $3,020 for what we foresee. If you break or crash the bike, things get more expensive pretty quickly. For that though, you've had a whole year of motor racing.
There are bikes at historic meets that have cost $1,000, and some that have cost $20,000. Guys get new trailers, new leathers, stay at motels and pubs, it can spiral. My own case is I camp on the track when I stay over, share the driving, eat and drink cheaply, I'm wearing second hand boots, second hand leathers, second hand back protector, inexpensive gloves and my road helmet. I'm going to put some money into the bike over the off season, so don't think it's all free. Yes I can afford it, but not without working some overtime.
- Results. I did better than I'd thought. It turns out there are some classes that are really competitive and some that are not so hotly fought. The Period 6 250 guys go really hard, and the RGV 250s that make up the majority of the class are all business. If I'd started there, I would very probably have finished the year without points. I'd have also fulfilled all my desires to go as hard as I could, have great fun, and learn a lot. Possibly I'd have done it cheaper. My thinking when I made my choices was to pick a bike I really liked, pick something old enough so I really felt historic, but not so old that I'd have major difficulties getting parts. I thought that 50 horsepower was about right for me, and the period 5 seniors (500cc) seemed to fulfil all the criteria. As it happens there are some good bikes and riders in the class but they seem to all have other interests in other classes. That meant I competed more often than anyone else, and got points for finishing. Yes folks, I got the most points, even though I got beaten by everyone who took to the track with me. In light of everything I've said, I might not deserve the trophy, but I still feel like a winner.
- Next year. The experience has taught me that a successful campaign is about reliability, consistency, and understanding. Yes I'll be back next year. At least two mates have seen how much fun this is and have their race licenses. They're smart enough to race jap bikes so they're a little way ahead of me in cash terms. The bike is having some significant work done on the motor, I'm not fast enough to need more power but I do need to know it's not going to detonate and take me out of the season. (by the way, anyone who has an old Pantah lying around and is willing to let it go cheaply is invited to call me). Paul knows a bit about electrics and we're going to completely rewire it. Danny knows a bit about paint and the presentation is going to be significantly better. I've had some advice and there will be suspension work at some stage, but not til HR calls me and offers more overtime.
- Anyhow, there you go, you're up to date. I'd like to promise more and better blog posts.